Making The World Better Through Feedback


I walked behind this guy for four blocks, watching his coat belt bounce along behind him.   The rain had just stopped, but the puddles at the street corners were still deep, and at every signal the man’s belt dragged through the water as though it were a fishing line trolling for city rats.

The guy was always 10-15 feet in front of me, and I wasn’t altruistic enough to chase him down just to tell him he had a tail.  Maybe I should have tried harder, but he was a stranger, my high heels weren’t well suited for even a 15-foot jog on slick pavement, and, since the stakes were low (the belt was already soaked), I reasoned my way out of doing the nice, helpful thing.

I ducked into a Starbucks without ever saying a word.

This type of scenario must play out in countless ways every day.  All of us either play the roll of the man, having issues obvious to most everyone, or my roll, where you shirk from being helpful and calling out the problem.

What excuses do you use?

Do you dismiss or underestimate what’s at stake? Do you avoid sticking your neck out because you don’t want to “break a heel”? Perhaps you don’t believe you have enough of a relationship to make a comment.

 Saying nothing is clearly the widest, easiest path to take.  But we only take that path when we fail to view feedback as a gift.

Otherwise, we’d give a little extra effort and make the world (or even the streets of New York) a better place.

Next time, I’ll try and catch the guy.

What will you do?